I. United States
1. US DPRK Missile Export Sanctions
Agence France-Presse (“US SLAPS SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA OVER YEMEN MISSILE SALE,” 07/26/03) reported that the US imposed new sanctions on the DPRK over its export of 15 Scud missiles to Yemen last year, which ignited a major diplomatic incident and exposed a loophole in global non-proliferation regimes. The State Department slapped the punishment on the DPRK’s Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, but stuck to its decision last year not to punish Yemen for ordering the consignment. “We have assurances that this was the last part of the shipment and that there will be no further shipments,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. “In consideration of our relationship, our cooperation on terrorism and consistent with the law, we’re not imposing sanctions on Yemen for this activity at this time.” Crews of two Spanish navy vessels acting on US intelligence data, discovered the missiles after stopping and searching an unflagged merchant ship off the Yemeni coast last year. But embarrassed US officials concluded that they had no power under international law to confiscate the missiles, which the Yemeni government said were intended for purely defensive purposes. Changgwang Sinyong Corporation has been found in violation of US arms export control laws on at least five previous occasions, including earlier this month. The sanctions last three years and eight months and apply to all activities of the DPRK relating to development and production of missile technology, electronics electronics, space systems or equipment, and military aircraft. They include the denial of all US government licenses for the sale of such equipment, a denial of US contracts for the equipment and a ban on its importation into the US, the State Department said in a notice published in the Federal Register. The sanctions are entirely symbolic as the US already prohibits almost all trade with the DPRK. Changgwang Sinyong was last hit with US sanctions on July 3 for arms sales to Iran that the State Department said could “make a material contribution to weapons of mass destruction or missiles.” In addition, it was punished for the same offense in 2001 and in 2000, 1998 and 1996 for violating missile-specific US export regulations. In March of this year, the company was penalized by the US in March for an alleged barter deal in which Washington claimed Pyongyang swapped missile components for expertise in developing a nuclear program from Pakistan.
2. US-ROK on DPRK Talk Format
Agence France-Presse (“BUSH AND ROH DISCUSS NORTH KOREA TALKS FORMAT,” 07/25/03) reported that President George W. Bush briefed ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun on his efforts to ensure the ROK and Japan are included in any future nuclear crisis talks with the DPRK, the White House said. Bush spoke to Roh for about 15 minutes by telephone about efforts to forestall Pyongyang’s drive for nuclear weapons, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. “They discussed next steps on North Korea policy, particularly our efforts to make sure that South Korea and Japan are involved in multilateral talks,” he said. In recent days, continued DPRK belligerence has coincided with new signs that the DPRK may respond to calls for multilateral talks to end the nine-month-old nuclear standoff which began in October. The US has insisted on a multilateral format for the talks while North Korea is pressing for one-on-one consultations with Washington to resolve the crisis. Various formulas for talks have been mooted in public, including proposals for a multilateral forum involving the US, the PRC and the DPRK, as well as the ROK and Japan. But there has so far been no announcement when such an event could take place, nor whether a US-DPRK bilateral consultation could be included in the five-way format to induce Pyongyang’s participation.
Agence France-Presse (“PM NUCLEAR TALKS COULD START NEXT MONTH — ROH ADVISOR,” 07/25/03) reported that a senior advisor to ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun said he believed that the US and the DPRK would meet for a new round of multilateral talks on the DPRK’s nuclear crisis in August. “Even though it is hard to predict exactly when the multilateral talks will resume, I believe they will take place next month,” Roh’s National Security Advisor Ra Jong-Yil said in an interview with Yonhap news agency. “The multilateral talks must open as early as possible and pave the way for a peaceful resolution (to the nuclear stand off),” he added. Beijing has recently stepped up diplomatic efforts to bring the parties together through multilateral talks. No date has officially been announced for a new round of talks. PRC Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said on Wednesday at a meeting of foreign ministers from Europe and Asia on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that talks should take place as soon as possible and the PRC was seeking to convince Washington and Pyongyang to be flexible. The US has been pushing for expanded multilateral talks to include Japan and the ROK while Pyongyang maintains that the nuclear crisis is a bilateral matter between Washington and Pyongyang. Li said the biggest obstacle to resolving the nuclear impasse was the absence of mutual trust between the US and the DPRK. Reports that North Korea was preparing to declare itself a nuclear state unless its demands for US concessions were met by September 9, the 55th anniversary of the communist state’s founding, have not been confirmed.
3. US on PRC Missile Proliferation
Agence France-Presse (“US OFFICIAL CRITICIZES CHINA ON MISSILE PROLIFERATION,” Washington, 07/24/03) reported that gaps in the PRC’s proliferation controls and a lax attitude by the government on enforcement are permitting PRC firms to funnel illegal missile exports out of the country, a senior US official charged. Missile proliferation has been a key bone of contention in Sino-US relations in recent years, and Beijing has made repeated assurances that it has introduced new oversight regimes to prevent the trafficking of such technologies. But Paula DeSutter, assistant Secretary of State for verification and compliance, said in testimony to the US-PRC Economic and Security Review Commission on Thursday that the PRC had failed to take serious steps requested by Washington. “We continue to see problems in the proliferant behavior of certain PRC entities and remain deeply concerned about the PRC government’s often narrow interpretation of nonproliferation commitments and lack of enforcement of nonproliferation regulations,” she said. “The PRC Government appears to view missile nonproliferation, at least in part, not as a goal in and of itself but as an issue that needs merely to be managed as part of its overall bilateral relationship with the US,” she said. “China has generally tried to avoid making fundamental changes in its transfer policies by offering the US carefully-worded commitments.” “China does not appear to be enforcing controls at its borders, allowing unauthorized transfers to go undetected. “Furthermore, it must establish a system of end-use verification checks to ensure that items approved for transfer are not diverted.” The PRC has denied its missile control export regimes are inadequate and says it introduced new procedures to stop illegal transfers in August 2002.
4. Japan Parliament on Iraq Troop Deployments
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S PARLIAMENT APPROVES DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS TO IRAQ,” 07/26/03) reported that Japan’s parliament voted to allow Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s government to send troops to Iraq in what will be the first dispatch of Japanese military personnel to a combat zone since World War II. The approval came after Koizumi easily hurdled a no confidence motion tabled by the four main opposition parties in response to the bill, already passed in the all-important lower house on July 4. Japan’s Kyodo news agency said Koizumi will begin work Monday to schedule the dispatch of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF). The first troops are expected to depart in August, followed by a 1,000-strong contingent in October. The Japanese mission would be to help resettle refugees, rebuild facilities and provide fresh water and supplies. They are banned under the new legislation from providing weapons and ammunition for combat. But Kyodo said opposition parties would continue to question the legitimacy of the move, particularly as Koizumi seeks re-election as head of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The opposition, including the leftist Social Democrats and Communists, insists the deployment would violate Japan’s anti-war constitution, put Japanese at risk and involve the country in the aftermath of an unjustifiable war. Passage of the bill was greeted with anger from opposition lawmakers. Nato Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, said the military mission “would leave deep roots of disaster for the future of Japan”, while Liberal Party secretary general Hirohisa Fujii attacked the government’s “irresponsibility and political ignorance”, according to Kyodo. From Thursday afternoon into the small hours of Friday, opposition lawmakers submitted a series of censure motions in the upper house against government ministers to delay the bill. All were easily voted down. Attempts to derail the bill finally floundered late Friday as the ruling coalition rejected by 287 votes to 178 a motion of no confidence in Koizumi. The prime minister greeted the result with a bow.
5. Koizumi No Confidence?
Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE OPPOSITION PARTIES SUBMITS NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST KOIZUMI,” 097/25/03) reported that Japanese opposition parties tabled a no-confidence motion against the cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in a bid to delay the passage of a bill allowing Japanese troops to be sent to Iraq, opposition officials said. “We strongly demand an immediate resignation of the Koizumi cabinet,” the motion submitted to the lower house of parliament said. It accused Koizumi of “employing absurd sophistry” to defend the bill. “The Self-Defence Forces (SDFs) will be dispatched primarily to support US and British troops, it will be inevitable the SDFs will become a target of guerrilla war,” the motion said. The motion also added Koizumi’s reform drive had “completely faded”, with Japan facing persistently high unemployment. The ruling coalition, which controls a comfortable majority in the powerful chamber, is set to defeat the motion in a vote later Friday. The move in the lower chamber came after opposition lawmakers submitted a series of censure motions in the upper house against government ministers which were easily voted down by the ruling coalition. Opposition lawmakers literally dragged their feet in going up to vote on the respective censure motions Thursday evening through early Friday, delaying the start of debate of the Iraq bill, which had been set for Thursday afternoon by the upper house Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.
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